Westfield Green Team Thanks Sustainable Jersey for Bike Oasis Funding

Written by Karrie Hanson and Jay Goldring, Westfield Green Team Alternative Transportation Sub-Committee Co-Chairs

In June 2023, the Town of Westfield announced the opening of two newly installed bike oases: one located on Prospect Street in Municipal Lot 1 behind Bovella's Pastry Shoppe, and the other located on Elmer Street near the entrance to the Banana Republic parking lot. These new spaces offer residents who bike downtown a convenient and safe place to park their bikes close to their destination.

The Westfield Green Team would like to express appreciation to Sustainable Jersey for funding the bike oasis in Municipal Lot 1. Westfield received one of seven Sustainable Jersey $20,000 grants, funded by the PSEG Foundation, for the Town’s application to install a bike oasis as part of its sustainability platform and to further encourage biking to and from the downtown area. The Elmer Street location was primarily funded by a separate grant received by the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC), as well as by revenue from the Green Team’s Community Solar program.

Locating these bike oases on the periphery of the downtown makes it easier to bike close to your destination and walk the rest of the way, avoiding the need to bike on crowded sidewalks (which is prohibited in the Central Business District).

A few years ago, we were not as concerned that roughly 40% of our town’s greenhouse gas emissions are due to transportation, but as we’re seeing the worsening impacts of climate change, it adds a certain urgency to this work. And now, with e-bike sales soaring and showing no signs of slowing down, bike technology has gotten ahead of the infrastructure available to use them safely.

The bike oasis on the Prospect Street site is a good example of what we envision for and a step towards a quieter, calmer, and cleaner future. With its cool shady seating, it is a perfect meeting place, offering convenient and safe bike parking, a water refill station (even for pets), and some useful bike tools. And it’s close to many popular downtown destinations: stores, bakeries, cafes, pizzerias, and restaurants. The Elmer Street site also features a canopy to shield bikes from the elements.

However, if biking downtown is not for you, please remember that just one car parking spot can hold up to twelve bikes and that for every person opting to bike downtown, there is one less car in front of you at a red light and one more potential parking spot for your car.

Many thanks to members of the Westfield Green Team for their help in preparing the Sustainable Jersey Bike Oasis grant application, Sustainable Jersey, the DWC, the Bicycle Advisory Board, and the Town of Westfield, including our Department of Public Works for their efforts in installing the oases. We hope you get a chance to enjoy them – either by biking downtown or meeting someone there who did.